Books

Ninth House

Ninth House is a novel by Leigh Bardugo.

Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living. (From Raincoast Books

From the book 

Winter

Alex hurried across the wide, alien plane of Beinecke Plaza, boots thudding over flat squares of clean concrete. The giant cube of the rare-books collection seemed to float above its lower story. During the day its panels glowed amber, a burnished golden hive, less a library than a temple. At night it just looked like a tomb. This part of campus didn't quite fit with the rest of Yale—no gray stone or Gothic arches, no rebellious little outcroppings of red-brick buildings, which Darlington had explained were not actually Colonial but only meant to look that way. He'd explained the reasons for the way Beinecke had been built, the way it was supposed to mirror and slot into this corner of the campus architecture, but it still felt like a seventies sci-fi movie to her, like the students should all be wearing unitards or too-short tunics, drinking something called the Extract, eating food in pellets. Even the big metal sculpture that she now knew was by Alexander Calder reminded her of a giant lava lamp in negative.

"It's Calder," she murmured beneath her breath. That was the way people here talked about art. Nothing was by anyone. The sculpture is Calder. The painting is Rothko. The house is Neutra.

And Alex was late. She had begun the night with good intentions, determined to get ahead of her Modern British Novel essay and leave with plenty of time to make it to the prognostication. But she'd fallen asleep in one of the Sterling Library reading rooms, a copy of Nostromo gripped loosely in her hand, feet propped on a heating duct. At half past ten, she'd woken with a start, drool trickling across her cheek. Her startled "Shit!" had gone off like a shotgun blast in the quiet of the library, and she'd buried her face in her scarf as she slung her bag over her shoulder and made her escape.

Now she cut through Commons, beneath the rotunda where the names of the war dead were carved deep into the marble, and stone figures stood vigil—Peace, Devotion, Memory, and finally Courage, who wore a helmet and shield and little else and had always looked to Alex more like a stripper than a mourner. She charged down the steps and across the intersection of College and Grove.

From Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ©2019. Published by Raincoast Books.

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